ACP Members in Congress and Medicare Payment Cuts on the Horizon

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December 19, 2014

Welcome to The ACP Advocate,

Historians are likely to label the 113th Congress as perhaps the least productive ever, as it has compiled an unprecedented record of failing to address the key challenges facing our country. Regrettably, improving healthcare will be among the many issues where Congress has failed to act.

Congress has adjourned without enacting legislation to repeal the Medicare SGR formula or to reauthorize the Medicaid primary care pay parity program.

This is how Dr. David Fleming, ACP president, last week expressed his "profound disappointment" about Congress's failure to act on Medicare and Medicaid policies. The College will renew its efforts to get both issues resolved in the new Congress, which takes office in January.

Our first article this issue looks at the hard-fought victories that put an ACP member in the Senate for the first time ever, and re-elected another College member to the House of Representatives. Never before have we had internist-members serving in both the Senate and House! We talked to Senator-Elect Bill Cassidy and Congressman Ami Bera about how their physician backgrounds make a difference in their public policy work.

Our second article considers that physicians will face a new series of financial challenges starting next year due to possible financial penalties resulting from the PQRS, Medicare value modifier, Meaningful Use programs, and from reductions in Relative Value Units. 

Despite all of the trials and tribulations we all experienced this year, I want to wish you a Happy Holiday Season and good fortune in the New Year!

Until our next issue and for more coverage of what's happening in Washington take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob DohertyYou can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP.

As always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians

In the news
» Hard-Fought Victories Put ACP Members in U.S. Senate and House

Bill Cassidy and Ami Bera say their physician backgrounds make a difference

By the numbers, doctors will make up a smaller contingent on Capitol Hill when the 114th Congress is sworn in next month. But that changing of the guard will mark a landmark moment for the American College ... (read more)

» Physicians Face Medicare Payment Cuts as Incentives Shift to Penalties

ACP experts urge members to act now to ease effects of program changes

Though the possibility of Medicare payment cuts tied to the sustainable growth rate formula has been an annual threat for more than a decade, physicians will face a new series of financial challenges starti... (read more)

In this issue
» Hard-Fought Victories Put ACP Members in U.S. Senate and House
» Physicians Face Medicare Payment Cuts as Incentives Shift to Penalties

In focus
» Murthy Confirmed as Surgeon General
Well-respected internist and ACP member Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, has been confirmed as Surgeon General of the United States. More than a year passed between Murthy's nomination and confirmation, during which ACP showed strong support with a Feb. 2014 letter to Senators Thomas Harkin and Lamar Alexander. Murthy was confirmed with a 51-43 vote on the evening of Monday, Dec. 15.
» Report: Interprofessional Training to Deliver Patient-Centered Care
A new report by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) highlights programs that train medical students, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists, and other health professionals to work effectively in teams. The publication will serve as a learning resource on interprofessional education and provide a framework for educating the next generation of health professionals in team-based primary care models.
» PQRSwizard
There's still time to participate in 2014 PQRS to receive 0.5% incentive in 2015 and avoid the -2% penalty in 2016. ACP offers PQRSwizard - a fast and cost-effective online qualified registry tool to collect and report quality data. It requires as few as 20 patient records per provider, minimizes data entry time, and validates data automatically. The reporting deadline for using PQRSwizard is Feb. 26, 2015.

About this newsletter
The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to
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